Book Review: Passing Fancies by Marlowe Benn (Julia Kydd Book #2)


Julia Kydd is back.  *Pause for riotous round of applause*

Marlowe Benn has again wove a fun and twisty who-done-it that I couldn’t put down.  This time we find Julia has moved back to New York, and has started rubbing elbows with literary figures during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance.  When Julia’s new friend, Eva, is set to publish a book that points to a violent event and the perpetrator of the event ends up dead, Eva and the manuscript disappear.  Not only does Julia need to find Eva, but because Eva is “passing” as white, Julia must prove Eva’s innocence to the murder.

I loved reading about a female protagonist in the 1920s who doesn’t let race or sexism slow her investigation down or prohibit her from achieving what she wants to do.  Many of this book’s themes parallel today’s world, which makes the characters very empathetic and relatable.  Ms. Benn is a master of story twists and I was delighted throughout this book.  It’s hard to write a review of such a great mystery novel and not give too much away.  You must read it for yourself.

Pre-order your copy here.

If you haven’t read Relative Fortunes (Julia Kydd book #1) purchase that one here.

Back Cover Copy of Passing Fancies:

When stylish young bibliophile Julia Kydd returns to 1920s New York, she’s determined to launch her own private press. Julia’s aspirations take her into the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary movement unlike any she’s known—where notions of race, sexuality, and power are slippery, and identities can be deceptively fluid.

At a risqué soiree, Julia befriends singer Eva Pruitt, whose new book is rumored to reveal lurid details about the Harlem nightlife. But Leonard Timson, a local nightclub owner, is furious when he suspects he’s the inspiration for a violent character in the book. By morning, Timson is dead, and both Eva and her manuscript are missing.

Julia finds herself immersed in a case as troubling as Jazz Age race relations. More questions than answers surface about Eva’s mysterious world, and powerful interests conspire to protect dangerous secrets. Still, no man can stand between Julia and the truth: appalled by violent injustice, she must use her wit and guile to find the killer.

About Marlowe Benn:

Born near Boston, Marlowe Benn grew up in an Illinois college town along the Mississippi River. Her historical fiction debut, Relative Fortunes, was featured in Amazon’s First reads program, and CrimeReads named it one of 2019’s best traditional mysteries. She holds a doctorate in the history of books from the University of California, Berkeley. A former editor, college teacher, and letterpress printer, Benn lives with her husband on an island near Seattle.

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